Nowadays, everyone is concerned about their mental health at work. Even while our knowledge of poor mental health at work is evolving, reviewing the fundamentals is still important. Supporting mental health at work is a requirement, not just a nice-to-have. Similarly, staff members can urge their employers to provide mental health services at work. It is well known that risk factors at work can have a detrimental impact on mental health.
What is mental health?
A crucial aspect of overall health is mental health, just as physical and social wellbeing. A person is in a condition of mental health when they can manage daily challenges, work efficiently, realize their full potential, and give back to their community. Its crucial to emphasize that mental wellness is more than simply being free of mental illness.
Human performance and mental health are related concepts. They work together to enable human flourishing. For organizations trying to hire high-performing workers in todays world, employee mental wellness must be a top priority.
The following are the top five lessons learned about mental health:
- The absence of mental illness is only one aspect of mental health.
- Without mental wellness, you cannot be in good physical health.
- Stress management is aided by good mental health.
- Mental health and human performance are interrelated.
- The importance of workplace wellbeing must be high.
The importance of discussing workplace mental health
Talking about mental health is no longer taboo. Because it enables people to handle difficulties and failures in their life, both at work and at home, strong mental health is crucial. Teams in good mental health at work are more adaptable when roles and responsibilities change. Not to mention overcoming challenging obstacles. Employees resilience is increased, stress is better managed, and they perform better in their jobs. In the end, it enables each person to realize their full potential.
The steps employers have taken in response, such as mental health days are important. Employers must undertake the difficult task of cultural change to provide long-term stability and mental wellness. Offering the newest apps or using euphemisms like \"wellbeing\" or \"mental fitness\" is insufficient. Employers need to tie their words and deeds together.
WORKPLACE MENTAL HEALTH STATISTICS…
Globally, an estimated 264 million people suffer from depression. Depression is one of the leading causes of disability, and many of these people also suffer from anxiety symptoms. According to a new WHO-led study, lost productivity from depressive and anxiety disorders costs the global economy US$ 1 trillion annually. Unemployment is a well-known risk factor for mental health issues. Negative workplace conditions can result in physical and mental health issues, risky drug or alcohol usage, absenteeism, and lost productivity. Workplaces that support and encourage mental health are more likely to see declines in absenteeism and productivity.
One of the most pressing health issues in the United States is mental illness. 18.3% percent, or 44.7 million adults in the US over 18, reported having a mental disorder in 2016. In addition, 71% of people said they experienced at least one stress symptom, such as a headache, overwhelming feelings, or anxiety.
Numerous people who suffer from mental illnesses also require treatment for physical ailments such as heart disease, diabetes, respiratory problems, and diseases of the muscles, bones, and joints. Treatment for those who have co-occurring mental health disorders and other physical issues is 2 to 3 times more expensive than for those who do not. The United States may save $37.6 billion to $67.8 billion annually by merging medical and behavioural health care services.
The US labor force is made up of about 63 percent of Americans. Activities aimed at enhancing adult wellbeing can be carried out at the workplace, which can be a crucial site. Workplace wellness initiatives can help individuals decrease and manage stress by identifying those who need support and connecting them to appropriate care. Employers can lower health care expenditures for both companies and employees by addressing mental health concerns in the workplace.
Increased attrition. Many workers are quitting their employment due to mental health issues. Although the attrition rates in 2019 were already fairly high, they have already increased even further. 68 percent of Millennials (up from 50 percent in 2019) and 81 percent of Gen Zers (up from 75 percent in 2019) had quit jobs for mental health-related reasons, as opposed to 50 percent of respondents overall (34 percent in 2019). Ninety-one percent of respondents, up from 86 percent in 2019, thought that a companys culture should support mental wellness.
Extremely common. Employees at all organizational levels today frequently experience mental health issues. Seventy-six percent of participants—up from 59 percent in 2019—reported having had at least one symptom of a mental health issue in the previous year. Given the numerous macro stresses, that is not surprising, but it does provide evidence that almost everyone experiences mental health issues daily.
A 2019 Harvard study dispelled the assumption that successful leaders are immune by demonstrating the similar prevalence of mental health issues across all levels of seniority. A Harvard 2021 survey revealed that C-level and executive respondents were now actually more likely than other respondents to experience at least one mental health symptom, maybe as a result of having to lead during this unprecedented era.
Extensive disclosure. Compared to 2019, more employees are discussing their mental health at work. In the previous year, almost two-thirds of respondents spoke with someone at work about their mental health. In terms of lowering stigma, which influences the desire to seek treatment, this is a significant step in the right direction. However, compared to 2019 rates, just 49% of respondents claimed that discussing mental health at work was a positive experience or that they got a favourable or supportive reaction.
Workplace Mental Health Statistics Every Business Leader Should Keep in Mind
1. Employee Stress Statistics
- 57 percent of American workers, an increase of 8 percentage points from the previous year, reported experiencing everyday stress. (Gallups State of the Global Workplace: 2021 Report)
- Concerns about their stress levels over the past year were expressed by 88.1 percent of workers. (Pathways Mind at Work: A Report on Employee Mental Health)
- Almost a third of employees say their stress levels are high to unusually high, and 94% of workers say they experience stress at work (American Institute of Stress)
- Three-fourths of workers think that they are under more stress at work than they were a generation ago. (NIOSH)
- Stress is a factor in 16% of employees quitting their jobs. (Korn Ferry)
- The most agitated, anxious, and furious people in the U.S. are young people between the ages of 15 and 49. (Gallup)
- Stress results in the loss of 550 million workdays annually. American Psychological Association)
2. Employee Depression Statistics
- As a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, 29% of employees say they are depressed. (Gartner HR Study)
- Approximately 20% of the time, depression makes it difficult for someone to fulfill physical job duties, and about 35% of the time, it impairs cognitive function. (Center for Disease Control)
- In Q4 2020, more than 70% of employees expressed some concern about their depression levels. (Pathways Mind at Work: A Report on Employee Mental Health)
- The percentage of workers who obtain treatment to manage their depressive symptoms is just 57% for moderate depression and 40% for severe depression. (Center for Disease Control)
- Americas current depression costs society $210 billion annually. (Analysis Group)
3. Employee Burnout Statistics
- Nine out of ten workers worry about their level of burnout. (Pathways Mind at Work: A Report on Employee Mental Health)
- In 2021, more than half (52%) of survey participants reported experiencing burnout, a 21% increase from pre-COVID polls. (Indeeds Employee Burnout Report)
- In the past year, there has been a roughly 2-to-1 increase in the gap between men and women who report feeling burned out. (McKinsey & Co.s Women in the Workplace Report)
- Employee burnout is up 44% from a year ago, according to survey results. (Robert Half)
- Employees who are burned out are less likely to participate in surveys regarding their burnout, and the most burned-out workers may have already quit their jobs. (McKinsey & Co.)
4. Work-Life Balance Statistics
- In 2021, employees concerns about work-life balance ranked third. (Pathways Mind at Work: A Report on Employee Mental Health)
- According to 19% of workers, \"flexibility and/or work-life possibilities\" have the biggest influence on their job satisfaction. (PwCs Employee Financial Wellness Survey)
- Work-life balance is very important to 72% of employees when contemplating a new career. (Statistica)
5. Employee Substance Abuse Statistics
- 36 percent of employees claim that since the pandemic started, their struggle with addiction or substance misuse has gotten worse. (The Standard)
- One in four workers is worried about their degree of substance use. (Pathways Mind at Work: A Report on Employee Mental Health)
- 57 percent of workers reported losing 10+ hours a week of productivity as a result of substance abuse. (The Standard)
6. Employee Engagement and Productivity Statistics
- Only 36% of workers are enthusiastic about their jobs and workplace. (Gallup)
- In 2021, there could be up to 15% of workers who are actively disengaged. (Gallup)
- Nearly 20% of workers expressed extreme worry about their productivity levels in 2020. (Pathways Mind at Work: A Report on Employee Mental Health)
- Business units and employees who are highly engaged earn 21% more money. (Gallup)
7. Statistics on Employer Wellness and Mental Health Programs
- To address COVID-19 concerns in 2021, 53% of firms established mental health initiatives. (PwCs 2021 Health and Well-being Touchstone Survey)
- Although 63 percent of workers believe their workplace is unhelpful, 72% of employees want their companies to support mental health and wellbeing. (Peldon Rose)
- Employers increased or introduced wellness programs at a rate of 44%. (PwCs 2021 Health and Well-being Touchstone Survey)
- Compared to non-participants in the companies wellness initiatives, 70% of employees who are enrolled in them report higher job satisfaction. (Alfacs Workforces Report)
- Accessing care is difficult, according to 67% of workers with mental illnesses. (McKinsey and Co.)
Building a healthy workplace
The establishment of governmental laws, plans, and policies are crucial to ensuring a healthy workplace, as shown by the European Union Compass work in this area. It is possible to define a healthy workplace as one where all employees health, safety, and wellbeing are actively promoted and protected by both workers and supervisors. According to a 2014 academic study, interventions should follow a 3-pronged strategy:
- Protect mental health by reducing work-related risk factors.
- Promote mental health by developing the positive aspects of work and the strengths of employees.
- Address mental health problems regardless of cause.
Building on this, a World Economic Forum handbook outlines actions businesses may take to establish a healthy workplace, such as:
- Awareness of the workplace environment and its potential for change to support various employees improved mental health
- Taking inspiration from corporate leaders and staff members who have taken initiative.
- By being aware of what other businesses who have taken action have done, you may avoid recreating the wheel.
- To create stronger workplace mental health policies, it is important to comprehend the potential and demands of certain employees.
- Knowledge about resources for assistance and locations to look for it.
The following are some interventions and best practices to safeguard and advance mental health at work:
- application and enforcement of health and safety rules and procedures, diagnosis of distress, prevention of dangerous psychoactive substance use, and management of sickness;
- letting personnel know that assistance is available;
- organizational strategies that promote a good work-life balance; involve employees in decision-making, giving them a sense of control and participation;
- programs for employees professional advancement; and
- acknowledging and honoring employees contributions.
Interventions for mental health should be provided as a part of a comprehensive approach to health and wellbeing that addresses prevention, early detection, support, and rehabilitation. Where these treatments are available, occupational health services or specialists may assist organizations in putting them into practice. Even without these resources, several improvements may be undertaken to preserve and promote mental health. Involving stakeholders and personnel at all levels when delivering interventions for protection, promotion, and support and assessing their efficacy is essential to success.
According to cost-benefit analyses of techniques for addressing mental health, there are net benefits. For instance, recent research led by the WHO estimated that improved productivity and health would yield a return of US$4 for every US$1 invested in scalable treatment for common mental diseases.
Supporting those who suffer from mental illnesses at work
Organizations have to help people with mental illnesses stay in the workforce or return to it. According to research, being unemployed, especially for an extended period, can negatively affect mental health. Many of the above-mentioned projects could be beneficial for those who have mental illnesses. People with mental illnesses can continue working or return to it with the help of helpful and discreet communication with management, flexible hours, job redesign, dealing with problematic workplace dynamics, and other factors. For those with depression and other mental disorders, having access to evidence-based therapies has been beneficial. Employers must make sure people feel supported, able to seek help, and able to return to or continue working while being given the resources they need due to the stigma associated with mental disorders.
A globally enforceable legal foundation for advancing the rights of people with disabilities is provided by Article 27 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) (including psychosocial disabilities). It acknowledges that every person with a disability has the right to work, that they should be treated equally, that they shouldnt face discrimination, and that they should receive support at work.
The good news? Treatment works…
Employees who have received treatment for mental illness report higher levels of job satisfaction and efficacy.
And its economical. Effective mental health care for employees lowers overall medical expenditures, boosts productivity, reduces absenteeism, and lowers the cost of impairment. The bottom line is that company benefits from investing in a mentally healthy workforce.
The statistics you have just seen are startling, yet they dont give the whole story. It can be difficult to measure a single employees mental health, and the continuous difficulties brought on by the epidemic continue to affect and mould the minds and wellbeing of American workers. One thing is certain as business leaders look to the future: employees want mental health and wellbeing support to be a cornerstone of the workforce and their place of employment. Employees are equipped to successfully manage their emotions and stress when a mental health program is implemented. Employees can better manage their job and personal life when you give them coping mechanisms and wellbeing skills.
The first step in promoting good mental health in the workplace is raising awareness of the full spectrum of employee mental health experiences. Companies that support and advocate for mental health for those who are struggling or who are not thriving benefit all of their employees. Companies can set an example by de-stigmatizing the subject of mental health and considering their position in society more broadly. We can redefine mental health by emphasizing strategies that enhance workers personal and professional growth and offering assistance and access to clinical care for those who need it most. Companies can offer their employees the greatest mental health programs with awareness, innovation, and support.
Any mental illness is characterized by any mental, behavioural, or emotional condition that meets DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition) criteria within the previous year (excluding developmental disorders and substance use disorders). Impacts of mental illness might range from complete recovery to mild, moderate, or even severe disability.
Mindfulness. A psychological state in which you are constantly aware of how you are feeling without passing judgment on it. Practices that promote self-control and advance abilities like tranquility and concentration can help one develop mindfulness.
Milton Jack is a Business Consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd, a business management and human resources consulting firm.
Phone: +263 242 481946-48/481950
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